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Nintendo DS
Survival Horror
Renegade Kid
SouthPeak Games
May 4, 2010

Dementium II Preview

Dementium: The Ward was probably one of the best first person games as well as one of the best survival horror games on the Nintendo DS. It's no surprise that SouthPeak Games and Renegade Kid got back at it for a sequel. Nintendojo was lucky enough to get an early copy of the game for preview purposes.

The game starts off at Chapter 1, titled "Welcome Back," with William from the original game waking up back in the asylum. The first five minutes of the game is a rather well done cinematic of a nurse talking to William and letting him know that guards will be escorting him back to his cell due to them needing the space. The rest of this chapter requires the usual "find your way out alive" mechanic of the original, except now with some fixes. No longer will the player need to worry as much about dying and starting off back at the very beginning of the chapter he's in. Each chapter has save points now that can be found on walls. There are no less than two per level, and, once found, they allow the player to save as often as he/she likes. Further, the save points are usually placed right before some life-or-death challenge, making them even more convenient.

Speaking of, players will definitely have a challenge with the boss at the end of chapter 1. A nasty creature that can walk on the ceiling and tactically attacks awaits those who are willing to face the fear-- and, turns out, a shotgun is a mighty fine help in this scenario.

Chapter 2 makes a lot more use of the flashlight, which is yet another fix from the original game. No longer does William use only one hand! That's right: two-handed wielding is now possible. The player can choose to use a knife and flashlight, pistol and flashlight and other combinations. However, there are certain weapons that can only be operated with both hands, like the shotgun and hammer, which makes the player plan need to think a little more strategically at times.

As before, Dementium II's graphics are outstanding, even when compared to the original game and Chapter 2 shows this fact off very well. Textures and environments both are much more varied this time around. Objects in the world seem to also be more varied, depending on their needs. No longer is there a table just to block William from his travels, but actual objects that make sense in the room. Also, the aforementioned hammer weapon can actually be used to break down certain wooden walls and make quicker paths to objectives, making travel less cumbersome.

All of this talk about weapons, mechanics and graphics leads to another great fix: healing. Healing is still done by finding steroids along the way, as in the original game. This time, however, William can actually hold steroids in his inventory-- he doesn't have to run and search for steroids he passed up earlier when he wasn't hurt just to heal himself in the now.

To keep from spoiling too much of the game, the final chapter for this preview, Chapter 3, has the game's story really start to pick up. More narration and back story is given about William and who he is, effectively adding gravitas and pulling the player in. Of the game's first three chapters, Dementium II feels most polished and mechanically balanced by the time players are venturing through this point in the story.

Seeing as how the game isn't too far from release, it's not certain how much more will be shined up in Dementium II. It would be nice to see more enemy types, so far as the usual drone-like zombies and slug-things go. Movement seems to be on par with the first outing, but sometimes the framerate can drop with all of the new things going on at once, which makes navigation a bit tricky and slow at times. This should probably be fixed for release, though. Either way, everything seen so far, from better storytelling and even graphical enhancements, definitely makes Dementium II a must-play and makes the original game look inadequate, even though it wasn't.

Dementium II was originally slated for an April 20th release date, but has recently been pushed back to May 4th, 2010. Nintendojo hopes to have a full review around then.

Staff Avatar Greg Wampler
Staff Profile | Email
"Ok, little buddy, as part of your hero training, you've got to stand guard tonight over my bananas... I'll relieve you at midnight, so try and stay awake until then!"

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